Jul. 13, 2013
Fremont Mayor Jim Ellis
As Mayor of the City of Fremont it is an honor for me to participate in the celebration of the Bicentennial of the Battle of Fort Stephenson, which has been described as “the Gettysburg of the War of 1812 in the Old Northwest;” the maximum point of penetration by the British into the Ohio country. It also has been my privilege to be a part of the collaboration of the many volunteers and organizations within our community in the production of this celebration.
Two hundred years ago, about 160 isolated regular soldiers and militiamen were inside a small, rectangular stockade fort located in what is now our city. They were surrounded by 1,500 British regulars and American Indians, with an additional 2,000 Indians in the nearby woodlands. The British had four cannons facing the fort and additional cannons on British warships anchored on the Sandusky River less than a mile away.
The Battle of Fort Stephenson began around 5 p.m. Aug. 2, 1813, with an intermittent artillery bombardment of the fort. It ended 24 hours later after British regulars, who had advanced through heavy musket fire to a trench that had been dug along the fort’s northwest face, were met by the firing of two double-charged canister shots from the fort’s only cannon, “Old Betsy.”
In celebrating the Bicentennial of the Battle of Fort Stephenson, we remember the bravery, resourcefulness and dedication of the ordinary people inside the fort who faced great odds before prevailing over their attackers.
These qualities and the spirit of the fort’s defenders have long been celebrated in our community.
They have helped to build and sustain our city over the last two centuries.
Old Betsy now sits on the site of the battle, not only as a reminder of our past, but as a symbol of the continuing resourcefulness and resilience of our citizens in facing the challenges of today and pursuing new opportunities for the betterment of us all.
Mayor, City of Fremont